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2009-4Q: BILLING: Subscription/Product Enhancements + SAND Overage Billing

1. Customer Subscription Updates

New Options have been added to SIMPLer's handling of products: 
  • cycles - define the number of times the particular subscription will remain valid in the recurring invoicing process. For example: if 'cycles' is set to '1' only the next invoice generated by the recurring process will have the particular product/subscription included. After that the subscription expires and will not be charged to any subsequent invoices.
    NOTE:  The subscription will never expire if 'cycles' is not set or defaulted to '0'.
    NOTE:  It is now recommended that 'installation' and other 'once-off' charges be included using this facility i.e. with a cycle of "1".

  • valid to - defines the date until a particular subscription will remain valid in the recurring invoicing process. For example: if 'valid to' is set to '2012-01-01' the particular subscription will only appear on invoices dated before '2012-01-01'.
    NOTE:  This option allows operator to create a campaign products that will expire at a specified date and at this stage customer will be marked 'red' on the generate invoices list, hence it will also work as a remainder to specify new subscriptions

  • valid from - defines the date from when the particular subscription is valid in the recurring invoicing process. For example: if 'valid from' is set to '2012-01-01' the particular subscription will only appear invoices dated on after '2012-01-01'.
    NOTE: This option allows operator to create a campaign products that will start at a specified date OR the ability to revert to standard pricing after a "valid to" promotion expires.

  • type - there are two subscription types implemented in SIMPLer at the moment:
    • recurring - default type - only these subscriptions will be used to generate invoices in the recurring invoicing process.
    • overage - subscriptions of this type will only be used if the operator uses the SAND (Subscriber Auto Notification and Disconnect) feature. Subscriptions of this type will not show up on regular recurring invoices unless a customer (who has SAND enabled), goes over their traffic allowance. In such an event the customer will be see an additional 'recurring' type subscriptions valid for one cycle on their invoice.
      This will have the same product, quantity, discount, premium details as the source 'overage' subscription.
      NOTE: If there is more than one 'overage' product defined, on an "overage billing event" all the overage products will appear on the next customers invoice.
With the introduction of the above subscription options, the customer details and modify customer subscription pages were updated to accommodate the new functionality.
  • subscription details panel was updated on the Customer Details page under the billing section. 'Valid To', 'Cycles' and 'Monthly Allowance' columns were added and the Customer Subscriptions are now split over two tables:
    • Recurring Products - to list all the products as they will appear on the next invoice
    • Overage Billing Products - to list all the products that will be added to invoice if customer goes over traffic allowance. Note that the operator must have the SAND overage billing turned on.

Fig 1-1 "Subscription Details" page

  • modify customer subscription: a number of updates have been applied. All subscriptions are listed under the 'Customer Subscription' table. Operators can sort these entries using the 'Type' and 'Display' filters. The 'Type' filtering option allows to the Operator to choose viewing of 'All', 'Recurring' or 'Overage' products. The 'Display' filtering option allows operator to display the products depending on whether it is 'Active', 'Inactive'. An Operator can add new subscriptions through 'Add Product' section. All subscriptions can be edited in the 'Customer Subscription table' and the total amounts will be calculated in real-time. Looking at the below Subscription setup we can distinguish following subscription examples:
    • Public IP address - recurring subscription that will appear on all invoices till 2011-01-01
    • Additional 10 Gb traffic allowance - Overage Billing product that will not appear on the recurring invoices unless customer hits his traffic allowance. In such case this product will be used to generate a 'once-off' recurring subscription with same product details
    • Broadband Starter - default, always enabled recurring subscription
    • Setup Fee - recommended way to put setup fees to the system - once off subscription ( cycles = 1 )
 

Fig 1-2: "Modify Customer Subscription" Page


2. SAND Overage Billing

The SAND Overage Billing feature is in addition to the existing SAND checks. It implements the billing for overage bandwidth usage where applicable. The checks are performed on a daily basis along with other SAND checks. It is good to note that operator can specify the exact time these scripts are executed from the 'modify operator details' page (settings - modify WISP). The overage billing calculates the customer traffic allowance from all their current subscriptions and checks if the current customer usage is over a predefined threshold. If it is, then the system lists the customer 'Overage' subscriptions and for each one of them adds a 'once-off' recurring position that will be picked up on the next invoice. Additional traffic allowance will also be added at this stage (based on the traffic allowance of the products used for 'Overage' subscriptions).

Note: Additional traffic allowance is not only valid within one billing cycle, it is valid until it is completely used up and this will be automatically split over several months

2.1 Enable SAND Overage Billing

The SAND Overage Billing feature is enabled from the 'modify operator details' page (Settings - modify WISP). The Operator needs to ensure that:
  • Customer Traffic Limit based SAND is set to Notification Emails + Overage / Auto Disconnection
  • Overage Threshold has to be set to a numeric value representing the percentage threshold of customer allowance. Note that Overage Billing is disabled if the overage threshold is not set or set to '0'
Fig 2.1-1 "Operator Details" Page - SAND section


2.2 Override global SAND settings from customer details page

Global, operator SAND settings can be overridden for a particular customer from the 'network details' page (see screen-shot below). To override the Overage Billing settings the Operator needs to:
  • In the Subscriber Auto Notification/Disconnection set Status to Override Defaults
  • Set Overage Threshold to the value of your liking. Note that if Overage Threshold is not set or set to '0' when Status is set to Override Defaults, the Overage billing check will be turned off for the particular customer
 

Fig 2.2-1 "Customer-Network Details" page - SAND section


3. Product Defaults

The capability has been added which allows SIMPLer to record defaults for each product:
  • Default Number of Subscription Cycles
  • Default Subscription Type
    • Recurring
    • Overage
    • Reconnection


Fig 3-1 Product Listing


Fig 3-2 Setting for default "Type" and "Cycles"


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